New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

Learn How to Save 30-50% on Energy Costs | Green Building Techniques

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 @ 11:04 AM

How Much Energy (and Money) Can Spray Foam Insulation Save?

How Much Does Icynene® Insulation Cost?

Icynene® insulation is one of the most effective insulation products on the market today. Icynene® is touted as saving homeowners 30-50% on energy costs - but also has a much higher price tag than standard fiberglass insulation.

Here are the benefits and costs of Icynene insulation, to help you decide whether you'd like to invest in this type of insulation in your Raleigh new home.

Learn How to Save 30-50% on Energy Costs | Green Building Techniques

What, Exactly, is Icynene® Insulation?

Icynene® is a low-density, open-cell, semi-flexible foam insulation. So what does that mean?

Low-Density: Icynene® insulation is very light weight. It is installed by spray, and expands up to 100 times it's original size before drying.

Open-Cell: Icynene® foam insulation is described as having a consistency similar to angel food cake or meringue. It is composed of many small "cells" that make it possible for the material to breathe.

Semi-Flexible: Icynene® foam insulation will not lose it's seal with the natural small movements within a structure. It is not rigid, and is designed to make small movements if necessary.

How is Icynene® Spray Foam Insulation Installed?Learn How to Save 30-50% on Energy Costs | Green Building Techniques

Icynene® is installed only by trained and licensed dealers. Liquid components are sprayed onto open walls, crawl spaces, or ceilings. The components expand within seconds to fill in all building cavities while sealing any cracks or crevices.

Icynene® is completely cured within just a few minutes.

Excess material is trimmed off so that drywall or other materials can be applied.

When Do I Need to Decide To Install Icynene® or Foam Insulation?

Before the framing stage.

Because Icynene® offers a very tight seal, some additional venting systems will usually be required, and need to be installed before the foam insulation.

Icynene® or other foam insulation is applied just before drywall stage, after framing. All plumbing, electrical, and HVAC rough ins should be complete, as well as all inspections.

How Effective is Icynene® Spray Foam Insulation?

Foam insulations generally offer twice the R value per inch thickness as standard fiberglass batt insulation. Manufacturers and installers say that installing Icynene will save 30-50% on energy costs. Not only that, the tight seal may mean that a smaller or less expensive heating and cooling system can be used.

Installing Icynene® insulation will also go very far towards getting ENERGY STAR or Green Building LEED certification.

Learn How to Save 30-50% on Energy Costs | Green Building TechniquesWhat About Sound and Water Barriers?

Icynene is touted as being an effective sound barrier, and noted as greatly reducing noises from outside the building while reducing echoes within it, particularly those of voices or stereo/tv.

Insulation is not normally installed in interior walls, but could be installed in a particular room for further sound reduction. For instance, installing insulation in the interior walls of the master suite could allow better sleep for a spouse who works night shifts and sleeps during the day.

Are there any harmful fumes or vapors?

Icynene® is safe for both the homeowner and the environment. It has been extensively tested in both Canada and the United States, and no VOCs were detected after 30 days. Icynene® is water-based, and does not produce formaldehyde, CFCs or HCFCs.

Not only that, Icynene is recommended for use in homes for many environmentally concerned or sensitive people. The Icynene Insulation System® has been selected as a product for use in American Lung Association Health House projects.

How Much Does Icynene Spray Foam Insulation Cost?Learn How to Save 30-50% on Energy Costs | Green Building Techniques

The total dollar amount will vary greatly depending on the square footage and footprint of the home. In general, this type of insulation costs 3-4 times a standard fiberglass batt insulation.

Another option? Some homeowners opt to install Icynene in just a few locations, like underneath the roof in the attic and around doors.

Who Installs Icynene Insulation in the Raleigh Area?

If you're completing a remodel project and would like to install Icynene foam insulation, there are a variety of local insulation businesses that offer their services. If you're building or buying a new home, talk to your builder directly about installing Icynene insulation.

Healthy Home Insulation, LLC.

Insulating Inc. 

ecoSelect Third Party Energy Certification –

The ecoSelect certification in your new home indicates that the construction is designed to provide higher levels of energy efficiency, per the national HERS index, with better indoor air quality and water efficiency than standard new homes.  We're not afraid to have third party inspectors check our homes carefully, for your piece of mind and long term value.  Learn more about new homes with lower energy costs, here.

     

Tags: certified green home builders, green home building, spray foam insulation, energy efficient homes

Rainwater Collection Systems | Raleigh Green Home Tips and Trends

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 10:12 AM

New Home Rainwater Collection Systems

What is a Rainwater Collection System?

 

Looking for ways to save energy and water in your new home? One of the best ways to cut water consumption (besides WaterSense fixtures) is rainwater collection.

Rainwater collection quick facts:

- On average, North Carolina gets about three inches of rainfall per month, throughout the entire year.

- An average 2100 sq ft home has about 3700 gallons of water falling on the roof every month.

- Rainwater is great for plants: it's oxygenated, un-chlorinated, and free.

- Rainwater collection can help reduce moisture levels around the foundation of your home.

- Rainwater collection helps protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution.

Rainwater Collection Systems - Raleigh Green Home Builders - Raleigh New Homes that Save Water

 

What are some popular rainwater collection options?

Rainwater collection systems can consists of a simple rain barrel or a large underground storage tank connected to an irrigation system. 

Rain Barrels for Rainwater Collection

Most rain barrels are about 65 gallons.  They have a spigot to connect to a garden hose.  You can connect several rain barrels to collect overflow, or simply place one at each downspout. 

A rain barrel can fill up very quickly - even 1 inch of rain on 1000 sq ft of roof area will provide 625 gallons of water, or ten rain barrels worth. 

Rainwater Collection Systems - Raleigh Green Home Builders - Raleigh New Homes that Save WaterAbove Ground Rainwater Collection Systems

A typical above ground rainwater collection system holds about 550 gallons of water.   

An above ground collection system can collect from several gutters.  A pump can help create water pressure.  It is usually placed on a 5'x5' concrete pad, and can be screened with a small privacy fence.  An above ground rainwater collection system can be used for watering, washing driveways and cars, etc.

Underground Rainwater Collection Systems

A below ground rainwater collection system can collect water from all the home's downspouts, pending the slope of the lot and placement of the tank. 

An underground tank is typically larger than 1000 gallons, and is best utilized by connecting to an irrigation system.  What better way to keep your lawn lush and green year round!

For more information on how to include rainwater collection in your new home, contact us or call 919-278-8070. 

Want to Know More About How Rainwater Collection Systems work?

Watch this short Triangle Green Home Tour rainwater collection system video series to learn: 

- How much rainwater can be collected each year from my roof?

- What does a rainwater collection system look like?

- What different ways are there to use rainwater for irrigation?

- How much does a rainwater system cost?

 

ecoSelect Third Party Energy Certification –

The ecoSelect certification in your new home indicates that the construction is designed to provide higher levels of energy efficiency, per the national HERS index, with better indoor air quality and water efficiency than standard new homes.  We're not afraid to have third party inspectors check our homes carefully, for your piece of mind and long term value.  Learn more about new homes with lower energy costs, here.

Tags: rainwater collection, green home building, green home builders raleigh

Green Home Building - How to Create a Green Kitchen

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

How to Build a Sustainably Green Kitchen

Green Ideas for your Raleigh New Home

The following article is a guest column, courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Agency, supplying premium Brooklyn Apartments.

Everyone is jumping on the environmental bandwagon, wanting to find ways to reduce his or her carbon footprint and help make the planet healthy for future generations. If you own a home it can be difficult to decide where to begin.

Most families live in the kitchen, and most of your energy costs are generated there, too. It only makes sense to begin “greening” your home in the most popular room in the house.


Appliances

The refrigerator is the biggest energy consumer in your home. It runs and cycles 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When it’s time to replace your refrigerator, consider downsizing. Many of us have much larger refrigerator/freezers than we really need. A smaller unit will save you money.

Also look into energy-rated appliances. They may cost more initially, but the energy savings will pay for them in the long run.

Energy Efficient Gas Stove

While you’re at it, get rid of the extra machine in the garage.

Make sure your fridge is in good working order. If you notice unusual ice buildup in the freezer or you have to crank the dial to keep it cold, have it looked at and repaired or replaced.

Improperly working machines must work harder to cool, increasing energy usage and costs.

Gas stoves and ovens are efficient, easy to use and less expensive to operate than electric. If you love the clean look of an electric cook top, make sure to buy an energy efficient induction model.

Cabinets, Countertops and Floors

If your home has been around a few years, you may have solid wood cabinetry in the kitchen that has been obscured by years of varnish or paint. Instead of gutting the entire kitchen, consider refinishing your cabinets. Sanding and re-staining your cabinet doors and adding new hardware can modernize your kitchen with minimal waste.

If you really hate the look of your cabinets, conTimberlake Cabinetrysider replacing only the doors and facings.

Incorporating dedicated bins for composting and recycling into your new cabinets will make it convenient to reduce waste.

Environmentally friendly composite countertops are available that mimic the look of stone – for a fraction of the price.

Sustainable woods like bamboo, high-quality laminates and recycled brick, tile or hardwoods are all earth-friendly choices when replacing floors.

Finally, if your current cabinets must go, consider purchasing certified green products (through the National Green Building Program), such as Timberlake Cabinetry

Water

Low Flow Faucet

The easiest thing you can do to conserve water is to install a low-flow faucet in your kitchen sink. It may take a little getting used to, but in time it will more than pay for itself.

Investing in a new dishwasher is another way to “green” your kitchen. Modern dishwashers heat the water instead of relying on water from the household heater, reducing energy loss through the pipes.

Manufacturer’s tests have shown that even the most frugal hand washers can’t beat new energy-rated appliances, which typically use less than ten gallons of water per cycle.

A few tips: Don’t rinse dishes before loading, only run the machine when it’s fully loaded and skip the dry cycle whenever possible. The water is heated to a high enough temperature to dry the dishes through evaporation if the door is left open after running.

Lighting

Replacing incandescent bulbs can reduce energy costs. The problem is that many older kitchens are equipped with tube fluorescents in large fixtures.

You may have to spend a little money to save money.

Can Lights

Have an electrician remove old fixtures and replace them with recessed lighting and LED lamps.

While that work is being done, you can also have your kitchen rewired into lighting “zones” with spotlights over work areas including the sink, the stove and the table.

You can reduce energy usage by only lighting the areas where you are working instead of the entire kitchen.

By incorporating these types of “green” features and fixtures into a sustainable kitchen design, you can do something nice for the planet and save money at the same time.

 

ecoSelect Third Party Energy Certification –

The ecoSelect certification in your new home indicates that the construction is designed to provide higher levels of energy efficiency, per the national HERS index, with better indoor air quality and water efficiency than standard new homes.  We're not afraid to have third party inspectors check our homes carefully, for your piece of mind and long term value.  Learn more about new homes with lower energy costs, here.

Tags: raleigh green homes, green home builders, green home building, green builders raleigh, green home builders triangle, green home builders raleigh, green homes raleigh